November 21, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Academy graduates ready for law enforcement careers” – Eau Claire, WI – It wasn’t just family tradition that attracted James Jarecki to a career in law enforcement, but he did find inspiration there.
“It’s in my family. My dad (James, Sr.) worked for Bayfield County as a patrol officer,” Jarekci said.
Now Jarecki is about to follow in his father’s footsteps. On Friday, Nov. 15, he graduated from the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) Law Enforcement Academy, renewing his certification to work as a law enforcement officer in Wisconsin. He’s been hired as a reserve officer for the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department and is on the eligibility list for full-time work.
Jarecki, who was elected class leader, had been through the academy once before, but the 2007 Drummond High School graduate was working outside law enforcement for a time, and since he was hired by Chippewa County in January, his certification needed to be renewed. He’s looking forward to getting started in his new career.
“I like patrol,” Jarecki said of his preferred law enforcement job. “You’re not sitting in an office all the time. It’s always something different. You never know what you’re going to get into.”
Being a law enforcement officer in Wisconsin takes a great deal of training. Most of the Law Enforcement Academy graduates, including Jarecki, previously completed CVTC’s two-year Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement program or one at another technical college. Others obtained four-year university degrees before entering the academy.
That provides a good, required foundation, but the 14-week academy program gets down to the practical. Completion of an academy program is required for certification.
Eric Anderson, director of the CVTC Law Enforcement Academy and associate dean of emergency services at CVTC, said the program instructs the recruits in six areas: policing in America, tactical skills, patrol procedures, legal context, relational skills, and investigations.
“The graduates learned to interact with the community as a professional,” Anderson said in his remarks to the graduates and family members at the ceremony. “They learned how to protect themselves. . . they learned how to provide safety and security to all citizens.”
Graduate Christopher Allen, chosen as the student speaker for the ceremony, spoke of the task ahead of the graduates in their careers. “We’ll be given an awesome amount of responsibility. We will be called upon to calm chaos in the most professional manner possible,” Allen said.
“Don’t let it end here,” Judy Anibas, academy faculty member and long-time Eau Claire police officer, told the graduates. “It means a lifelong journey of continuous education and training.”
Anibas called upon the graduates to honor the people they work with, their community, their loved ones and themselves. “And honor the department that hires you. They saw something in you that they thought would enhance their department.”
Of the 22 graduates, four had already secured full-or part-time positions with departments.
November 8, 2013
From whby.com: “Tribal police gather in G.B.area” – Fox Valley Technical College is helping train tribal police officers from across the Midwest this week, at a conference in the Green Bay area.
Brad Russ is the director of the school’s national criminal justice training center. He says it’s the 25th annual event, and they’re focusing on issues like human trafficking and drugs.
Russ says it’s one of the premier tribal training conferences in the country.
The conference runs through Friday, at the Radisson hotel and conference center in the Green Bay area.
October 30, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Police officers take seriously commitment to protect, serve” – My daughter raised her right hand to be sworn in.
“On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the Constitution, my community and the agency I serve.”
I always knew this day would come. Before she could write, she scribbled “tickets” to offending family members. Lights and sirens evoked heartfelt prayers and a million questions. Halloween “uniforms” were easy. Unusual gifts included handcuffs and police scanners. Most mothers encourage children to avoid traffic. As a Police Explorer, my daughter’s whistle and expertly executed hand motions finally allowed her access to busy intersections. It really struck home when a bulletproof vest hung in my laundry room.
Some public servants, like my daughter, are born for policing, ingrained with a sense of justice, an undeniable passion to help and an unwavering commitment to goodwill.
The police badge represents the shield medieval knights carried into battle. Daily, they strapped on armor, shields and weapons as they protected the people. Brave law enforcement officers do the same today.
None of us know what we may face when we walk out the door on any given day. Neither do our public servants. The difference is when they get ready for work; they strap on a gun, bulletproof vest, and shield and rush to help with unforeseen tragedies. They walk out their door in the morning with a noble purpose — to protect and serve.
I interviewed dozens of law enforcement officers, looking for the proverbial bad apples — the power-hungry bullies above the law whom the media loves to vilify. I couldn’t find one. Although the media would have us believe most citizens resent police officers, I found the opposite.
Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson confirmed most people respect police officers.
“We consistently deal with 2 to 5 percent of the population in their worst moments — people with tremendous needs,” he said.
Safety agencies want feedback to prevent negative perceptions. Peterson said, “We encourage people to contact us if they were treated unprofessionally. We only get a handful of complaints and we take them very seriously. We want the best for our community and demand it from our officers. That is why the hiring process is so rigorous.”
Mark Kohl, the Law Enforcement Recruitment Academy director at Fox Valley Technical College, trusts the academic system.
“We set extremely high standards for these young men and women,” he said. “The recruit process weeds out candidates with wrong motives. Abilities to multitask, problem solve, collaborate and meet high cognitive standards, along with physical stamina and precise technical skills, are what graduates must prove.”
Though part social worker, health care provider, translator, counselor and advocate, police officers are also fathers, sons, brothers, sisters, mothers and daughters just like us. The difference is their commitment to a job most of us would never consider.
Academy recruits from FVTC shared their perspective about policing. They agreed values like honor, courage and commitment to community have been passed down through legacies of law enforcement. Eager to uphold values from their oath, they trust the training, academics and character tests that prepare them to take their place as the next generation of public servants.
While visiting New York City, I met NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo. You may remember him as one of People Magazine’s Heroes of the Year in 2012. A tourist’s photo of DePrimo giving shoes to a homeless man went viral. DePrimo humbly said, “It was just a normal day on the job. I got up, went to work and helped someone. Any officer would have done it. We do it every day.”
Most police officers are men and women of integrity who honor the badge and oath they swore to uphold. So the next time you see flashing lights in your rear-view mirror, get cited for a traffic violation or are asked to inconveniently detour, remember these men and women are working to protect the community, ensure public safety and save lives.
Today, they may provide that service to you or someone you love.
October 23, 2013
From wrn.com: “Safer vehicles offset higher speed limit” – It’s not legal to drive 70 miles an hour, as the bill awaits Senate approval. The state Assembly has already given the green light to a 70 mph speed limit, but its fate is uncertain in the Senate as opponents lobby against the measure.
Brian Landers is a traffic law and traffic crash investigation instructor at Madison College. He doesn’t see a problem with the higher posted limit, saying surrounding states have equal or higher speed limits. ”I don’t think that the increase of 5 mph is going to see any large increase in fatal crashes in Wisconsin. I think that that’s easily offset not only through the advancements in technology in vehicles, but also through the education and enforcement of law enforcement.”
Landers points to higher vehicle safety standards, including better seat-belts, blind spot monitoring, air bags, breaking systems, and other improvements, as contributing factors in a reduction of fatal crashes nationally and statewide.
Green Bay-based Schneider National — the nation’s largest trucking company — has safety and fuel efficiency concerns. Landers says 70 is a maximum speed; it’s not mandatory. ”Depending upon your driving habits, and depending upon the road conditions and the weather conditions … you know, no one is forcing you to go 70 mph. So, if Schneider National or if any motorist out there feels like 65 is their safe limit, then they can still do 65 miles an hour.”
The bill’s author — state Representative Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) — says many motorists are already driving faster than the current 65 mph limit and it makes sense that the legal speed is adjusted accordingly.
Landers says whether a motorist is driving 10 miles an hour or 70, he needs to be sober, buckle up, and practice safe driving skills, which means regardless of the legal speed limit, a driver must slow down if conditions warrant.
October 21, 2013
From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Marathon County names new jail administrator” – WAUSAU — After months of sharp criticism and controversy surrounding operations at the Marathon County Jail, officials have named a new leader to complement changes already in motion at the facility.
Sandra La Du-Ives, who currently serves as jail administrator at the Oneida County Jail, will begin her new role Dec. 8; she was chosen from a pool of nearly 30 applicants from across the country. Marathon County Sheriff Scott Parks said the change in leadership is part of an overall transformation at the facility, which has undergone intense scrutiny since a March 27 attack on two corrections officers.
“We laid out our expectations for each applicant, and Sandra stood out among the rest,” Parks said. “She understands there is a great deal of work to be done and wants to be a part of that process.”
La Du-Ives was named jail administrator in Oneida County in April after the death of 19-year veteran Kaye Juel. She is a graduate of Nicolet Area Technical College and served as the assistant jail administrator for four years prior to her promotion. La Du-Ives also worked as a corrections officer for Oneida County for nine years. Efforts to reach La Du-Ives were not successful Friday.
A report issued in July by a panel of five community leaders outlined a host of deep-rooted problems at the jail — many which have already been addressed — and recommended massive changes to jail procedures and training. A five-member citizen review panel tasked with identifying the jail’s failings and recommending solutions issued the report; the panel found dozens of issues that need to be corrected and suggested changes that could lead to the termination of employees who do not rise to meet new performance expectations.
Major changes underway
Chief Deputy Chad Billeb said officials have embraced the panel’s recommendations and made immediate changes to procedures at the jail. The jail intercom system, once broken, is now back online and working properly; the central housing control unit, which once stood empty after a major communications system failure, is staffed 24 hours a day after the system was repaired. More than 10 cameras have been added to eliminate blind spots, and many of the more than 100 existing cameras were upgraded, Billeb said.
Officials also have addressed concerns by the panel and repeated concerns by jail inspectors about unacceptably low staffing levels at the facility. Two new corrections officers have been hired since the report was released, and two more will be named in the coming weeks, Billeb said, bringing the number of jail staff members up to the recommended level of 48. That number includes a jail administrator, six lieutenants and 41 corrections officers.
“The report gave us a road map of where we need to go,” Billeb said. “We shared that road map with our job candidates, including Sandra, so she knows exactly what our expectations will be.”
Not every applicant was quite so interested in a job that will entail fighting overcrowding and other infrastructure issues; three candidates dropped out after receiving the same information, Parks said.
Sheriff’s officials are enthusiastic about two programs they believe will significantly reduce the population in a facility that is consistently filled beyond its intended capacity of 279. On Friday morning, the jail housed 297 inmates; an additional 47 inmates were housed at jails in Lincoln and Shawano counties, according to jail reports.
The Marathon County Board on Tuesday passed a resolution that will allow nonviolent offenders to earn one day of early release for every 12 hours worked in community service at a variety of local agencies. The county’s five circuit court judges signed off on the program Thursday, Billeb said. That program will begin Nov. 1.
The second proposal, which mimics programs in Dane and Walworth counties, would allow inmates who qualify for Huber release to avoid sitting in jail altogether. Instead, inmates would do their time in their homes while monitored electronically. Only nonviolent offenders and people who live and work in areas with cellphone reception would qualify for the program, Billeb said.
For both programs, only inmates already eligible for Huber will be considered to participate. The Huber law allows inmates who have been sentenced to leave the jail to work or search for work, attend school and care for their children for up to 12 hours each day; Huber inmates pay a fee of $17 per day to participate in the program.
An ongoing process
Officials say they are committed to making the changes they know are necessary to create an environment at the jail that is safe for workers and for inmates. Hiring a new administrator from outside the county will allow for a fresh perspective during the rebuilding process.
“Sometimes when you look in the mirror, you don’t always have the clearest view of yourself,” Parks said. “This will provide us the opportunity to look at ourselves clearly and without bias.”
Both Parks and Billeb praised the efforts of Paul Mergendahl, the superintendent at the Marathon County juvenile detention facility, who has served as interim administrator since the April 17 resignation of former administrator Bob Dickman. Mergandahl will continue in his role as interim administrator until La Du-Ives assumes her new position.
“Paul set the groundwork for these changes to be made,” Billeb said.
La Du-Ives was interviewed by a group of six people who reviewed each applicant’s educational background, skills and history. Mount View Care Center Administrator Lori Koeppel, Marathon County Deputy Administrator Deb Hager, jail inspector Denise Ellis and Marathon County Board member Matt Hildebrandt assisted Billeb and Parks in choosing their top candidate.
The brutal assault that sparked the controversy surrounding jail procedures left officer Julie Christensen, 36, critically injured. She last was reported in the intensive care unit at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in April, and her family has requested no further updates be given about her condition. Officer Denney Woodward also was injured in the attack.
Fredrick Morris, 20, of Wausau has been charged in connection with the incident.
Koeppel, along with Rothschild Police Chief Bill Schremp, Intercity State Bank President Randy Balk, LandArt owner Paul Jones and Daily Herald Media General Manager Michael Beck all serve on the panel. Members plan to meet with Billeb, Parks and Du-Ives for a progress review in December.
October 10, 2013
From host.madison.com: “Smile! Local officers testing body camera” – Officers at Madison Area Technical College are checking out a new piece of equipment that could help in gathering evidence, right from an officer’s shoulder.
The new gadget is a video camera that can be clipped onto a shoulder or other parts of an officer’s uniform.
“The portable cameras can be switched on when an officer faces a possible confrontation,” the college said in a news release.
The evidence caught by camera could help in crime detection, prevention and prosecution, the release said.
August 23, 2013
From wbay.com: “Fox Valley Tech Chosen to Review Outagamie County Storm Response” – A panel of experts at Fox Valley Technical College will conduct an independent review of Outagamie County’s August 7th storm response. A professional meteorologists will also be part of the review.
The sirens were silent as a severe storm tore across the county and spawned a number of tornadoes in the early morning hours of August 7th. The county Public Service Committee discussed possible discipline for the county’s Emergency Management director, Julie Loeffelholz.
In her defense, Loeffelholz says the National Weather Service never issued a tornado warning and no trained personnel or weather spotters reported tornadoes, but even if they had, she couldn’t have activated sirens because power was knocked out to the communications tower to signal them and the backup system she requested won’t be purchased and installed until 2014.
Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson requested an independent review, and put Outagamie Corporation Counsel Joe Guidote in charge of organizing the review panel.
Guidote says he chose FVTC “because of its expertise in public safety and emergency management training.” He says the panel will include people with credentials in law enforcement, and meteorology.
July 31, 2013
From nbc26.com: “Challenges ahead for victims of child sex trafficking bust” – After a nationwide sex trafficking sting rescues 10 teenagers in Wisconsin the questions is, what’s next? Today a local expert is talking about what needs to be done for the victims and how law enforcement is stepping up to combat the issue.
Human trafficking doesn’t always look so obvious, it’s actually most common in the most innocent of places.
“They go to Malls and when they go to malls nobody’s children are safe,” said Phil Keith. Keith is an expert on human trafficking at Fox Valley Technical College.
According to him child prostitution is growing to younger and younger age groups, with the most vulnerable being runaways.
“These pimps are negotiators, they’re masters at persuasion,” said Keith.
Once a pimp has a victim, it’s hard to get free.
“They steal their identity, they don’t allow them to work,” said Keith.
When teens are rescued, getting back to normal life is a challenge and police are trying to help.
“Our goal is to bring them in to talk to them about their experiences and then to offer them the services that are available,” said Chad Elgersma, who works in the Human Trafficking Division of the FBI.
Victim’s need multiple services for drug addictions, emotional and sexual abuse and much more.
“The questions is tolerance. How much will we tolerate these kinds of perpetrators, who take innocence away from children,” said Keith.
As those 10 children, rescued from Wisconsin are now trying to overcome a life of sexual slavery.
A training session is held once a year at Fox Valley Technical College on Amber Alerts and Missing Persons, it also touches on spotting the signs of human trafficking and how to stop it.
July 30, 2013
From wxow.com: “‘Active shooter’ training underway at UWL” – The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College are teaming up this week to help first responders prepare for possible emergencies.
The “active shooter” training began Monday and runs through Thursday.
Kellie McElroy, Western’s law enforcement academy director, said UWL holds yearly, active shooter exercises. But she said this is the first year Western, which holds various tactical training classes of its own, is participating in UWL’s drills.
“Getting training for all the different public safety entities… that’s not something we get to do very often,” she said.
Law enforcement and emergency response officials from as far as Dane County are taking part in this week’s drills at UWL. Although McElroy said the bulk of the departments are from the Western Technical College area — covering La Crosse, Monroe, Jackson, Trempealeau and Vernon Counties.
Muddy Boots Tactical Training, a Florida security company specializing in emergency response, has been brought in to oversee the classes.
Mike Kilian, of Muddy Boots, said the active shooter training focuses not just on tracking down and disarming any potential shooters, but also on treating victims.
“If somebody is injured or shot, we don’t have time to let law enforcement clear the entire building before we can go in to help,” Kilian said. “So what we’re doing in this class is practicing escorting EMS personnel to the victims and extracting them while other teams are looking for the suspects inside the building.”
Kilian said it’s important to make the training as realistic as possible.
“You will react how you train,” he said. “If you have no formal training and don’t practice things, you’re not going to react very well.”
The training exercises are also expected to foster cooperation and collaboration between the various departments responding to various emergencies.
“You should all be training together,” Kilian said. “We get better results if we all train together because we all have the same goal: public safety.”
From fox11online.com: “On Special Assignment: 911 Center” – GREEN BAY – After struggling for years to maintain staffing levels where emergency calls roll in 24/7, Brown County’s 911 Communications Center is making changes to improve worker conditions, while also looking for ways to save taxpayer money.
The Brown County 911 Communications Center employs 62 workers when fully staffed, but maintaining that number has been difficult in recent years.
When one dispatcher quits it takes time and money to find and adequately train a replacement. And while that takes place, other dispatchers are forced to work longer hours leading to increased stress. And for many it’s been a breaking point.
“The stress from the calls, it’s kind of like getting punched in the stomach and then saying thank you can I have another,” said Jason Lemmens, who quit his dispatcher job with Brown County back in 2011. Lemmens spoke out during FOX 11′s initial On Special Assignment report that aired in early February.
Fourteen quit in all during 2011. In 2012 the center saw 15 dispatchers go. Late in the year Cullen Peltier was brought in as interim director to fix the staffing problems that led to rising costs, and poor morale which raised public safety concerns.
“I do think they have a valid concern, when you have new trainees, until they find their feet, find their groove,” Krystal DuBois said during a January 2012 interview. DuBois is a former Brown County dispatcher who quit last year after 11 years on the job.
Peltier disputed former workers’ claims that trading experienced dispatchers for their rookie replacements was putting anyone in danger.
But he did not dispute the added one million dollar plus cost to fully train the large influx of new dispatchers. Back in January he promised changes would be coming. Six months later I returned to talk to Peltier to hold him accountable.
“We looked at the figures then and you were at a 24 percent turnover rate, the national average was 18 percent and you told me then you hoped to get down to 10 to 12 percent,” Mark Leland asked Peltier.
“Yes, that’s still a goal we’re doing our best to alleviate some of the turnover,” said Peltier.
In fact during the first six months of 2013 Peltier acknowledges four dispatchers have quit. If the second half of the year sees a similar number leave, that would put the turnover rate just about on target at 12.9 percent–nearly half of what it was last year.
“Well you know I’d like to see zero turnover but unfortunately in this profession we are going to see some turnover,” said Peltier.
As was the case six months ago for our initial report, current workers we contacted declined comment on camera. But Peltier says workers have been a big part of the solution. They were solicited to help and came up with a new shift schedule to cut down on overtime and working weekends thereby reducing stress and improving morale.
“The majority of staff prefers that schedule so we’re going to go to that,” said Peltier.
Instead of 8 hour shifts that oftentimes were inflated to 12 to cover holes in the schedule, workers starting next year will work 10 or 12 hour overlapping shifts. The schedule will eliminate 600 work hours right off the bat. And that will save money.
So far this year with fewer vacancies Peltier says 1,000 overtime hours have been cut compared to this time last year. And additional taxpayer savings will start coming in thanks to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
“In terms of saving costs for the taxpayers I think it makes a big difference,” said John Flannery, a former Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy who is now an instructor at NWTC. This summer Flannery taught the school’s first class in emergency dispatching.
By having the school prepare prospective hires for the 911 Communications Center, the county stands to save the cost of that initial first week of what is now paid training.
“We looked at the cost savings that could come through having them come to this course before they get hired so it was kind of a win-win for everybody,” said Flannery.
Ten students completed the course last month. Another class is set for next month. After passing a national exam, the students are certified as emergency dispatchers.
Peltier says many more weeks of training are needed before new hires can field 9-1-1 calls at the communications center. But with applicants spending their own time and money on that first week of training at NWTC, he says it shows added commitment.
“I think that’s a good thing. I think it shows they have the drive to want to do this job and they also have a better understanding of the job coming in,” said Peltier.
Currently the class is not a requirement to apply for a dispatcher position with Brown County, but Peltier says in time that could change. And he’d even like to see more training completed before getting on the payroll, much like is the case for police officers and firefighters.
“It’s map reading, comprehension, typing data entry, and we want to have them focus their students on the tasks we need them to complete before we have them come in and take the test,” said Peltier.
Peltier says the county realistically could save tens of thousands of dollars a year depending on the amount of hiring needed.
The Communications Center is currently accepting applications for the four fulltime openings. Interviews are expected to be scheduled in the next couple of weeks, with those who successfully completed the NWTC class given priority in the hiring process.
Click here for NWTC emergency dispatcher course offering.
July 16, 2013
From onmilwaukee.com: “CSI: Milwaukee at Discovery World” – Want to learn more about how crimes are solved? You can, by visiting Discovery World next week.
“CSI: Milwaukee,” a cooperative effort of the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, MATC’s Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement program and the World Martial Arts Academy, will let participants explore their true detective skills.
The event will feature a mock crime scene and you’ll be able to “investigate” the scene and find clues before going through a witness identification challenge. In the forensics lab, you’ll learn how to lift, record and read finger prints and explore DNA investigation techniques.
No word on whether or not all of that will be done to a snappy music sequence with a bunch of jump cuts, but feel free to drop your own snarky yet timely one-liners.
CSI: Milwaukee runs Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Regular Discovery World admission fees apply.
From starjournalnow.com: “Nicolet College Recruit Academy students train for law enforcement careers” – Nineteen students are currently working their way through the Nicolet College Law Enforcement Recruit Academy, certifying each to work in law enforcement agencies in the state of Wisconsin.
Students are learning and practicing arrest and handcuffing techniques.
The 13-week, 520-hour program is run in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Instruction includes lectures and hands-on training that covers policing in America, tactical skills, patrol procedures, investigations and emergency medical response for law enforcement.
Specialized skills such as emergency vehicle operation, firearms, professional communications, and defense tactics are also taught.
The recruits will graduate in late August.
For more information about Nicolet’s criminal justice associate degree program, visit nicoletcollege.edu or call at (715) 365-4451, (800) 544-3039, ext. 4451; or TDD (715) 365-4448.
July 9, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Local officers now L.E. Academy grads” – EAU CLAIRE — Lake Hallie Police Department Reserve Officer Cory Dechow didn’t know it when he received his state law enforcement certification at a ceremony at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) Friday, but he was already in line for a promotion. He is now a full officer with the department, though with only part-time hours for now.
Dechow, along with Dunn County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy Nick Hutchinson, were the only two of the 15 summer graduates from CVTC’s Law Enforcement Academy who were able to wear the uniforms of their departments to the ceremony. Others are already looking for their first jobs in the field.
The Academy is a program through which candidates officially receive their certification to work as law enforcement officers in Wisconsin. Admission to an Academy program requires 60 college-level credits and other qualifications. All 15 graduates receiving certifications Friday had just finished a two-year CVTC Law Enforcement Associate Degree program in the spring term before starting the extra course work of the Academy.
For Hutchinson, the graduation represented the end of a long road toward a career he’s always wanted. The 2002 Chippewa Falls Senior High School graduate worked a number of jobs before the CVTC Law Enforcement program and the Academy gave him a real career.
“I’ve always wanted to go into law enforcement. It just took a long time to convince myself to go back to school,” he said. “I like being out with the public, interacting with people, and helping them when they need it.”
In March, Hutchinson was hired as reserve deputy in Dunn County. He helps out with security at public events, but was not certified to be a regular deputy until his Academy graduation. Now he, like his fellow graduates, is hoping to find full-time work.
Dechow, a 2001 Stanley-Boyd High School graduate, found his love of law enforcement in the service. After high school, he spent eight years in active duty in the U.S. Navy, including two tours of duty on aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. He spent the latter part of his military career in military police.
Dechow is currently in the Navy Reserves. In September he was hired as a reserve officer. A part-time position just opened on the Lake Hallie regular force. Chief Cal Smokowicz said after the Academy graduation ceremony that the position would be offered to Dechow.
Dechow says he looks forward to a long career in law enforcement. “I like to educate people when I have contact with them — simple things to improve people’s lives,” he said.
That attitude was also expressed by Joel Benson, the student speaker at the Academy graduation. “We don’t pursue this career to make people’s lives harder than they have to be. We pursue this career to help people,” he said.
Attorney Layne Yost, an Academy faculty member, was the keynote speaker and emphasized law enforcement as public service and policing for the “right reasons.”
“What mental attitude will you bring to a life of public service?” he asked. “Are you motivated to be good? Are you motivated to do good?
“As we send you out into the world, we do so with the fondest wish — make us proud,” Yost concluded.
July 9, 2013
From todaystmj4.com: “Today’s TMJ4 goes inside elite arson investigator training” – WAUKESHA – It happens time and time again right here in southeast Wisconsin. Intentionally set fires destroying homes and businesses, putting firefighters in danger and neighborhoods at risk.
TODAY’S TMJ4’s cameras were invited for an exclusive look at an elite training program for arson investigators. Instructors carefully, deliberately set multiple fires in an old Hartford farmhouse before students arrived, turning it into a hands-on classroom.
“It’s a two-week, National Fire Academy course, a very prestigious course,” said Brian Dorow, Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College. “What we’re setting is seven different crime scenes. The students come through during the course. They have to determine the motive, the origin.”
This is all done under the careful supervision of the Hartford Fire and Rescue Department. Chief Paul Stephens had a message for those who see arson as a way out.
“It puts firefighters’ lives at risk,” Stephens said. “It puts citizens at risk and fire kills people.”
We first met the students as they watched a demonstration at the technical college campus. A living room scene had been set up inside a garage. The students watched the instructor spray a trail of lighter fluid along the floor, up to a couch cushion.
The instructor started the fire with a single match. It took less than two minutes for the fire to rage.
“We can talk about it through PowerPoint and lecture,” the instructor said. “We can show video of it. But, we want the students to be able come out and actually see how it evolves.”
Back at the old farmhouse, the students put that classroom arson training to the test. Instructors posed as witnesses, like the fire chief and the homeowner. One of the instructors is Wisconsin State Fire Marshal Michael Rindt.
“Every fire is a challenging scene,” Rindt said. “We try not to make these scenes as challenging as you’d see in the real world because we want these to be a learning experience for them.”
There are seven different fire mysteries within this house. Some are set up as accidental fires and others as arson fires. Students take their notes back to the classroom and try to determine the cause.
Students will take these skills back to their communities, better equipped to catch the criminals who start fires. The students are firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and police officers.
“I don’t know if we have a shortage of adequately trained fire investigators, but it certainly is a profession where you need to have continued training,” Rindt said.
WCTC said every one of the students passed the course and that the students correctly solved each of the seven mock cases.
The college did not allow TODAY’S TMJ4 to interview the students because of their active roles in law enforcement.
July 9, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Gateway: no second referendum” – STURTEVANT — Gateway President Bryan Albrecht does not plan to go back to the public with a second referendum, but he said Monday something needs to be done for Gateway Technical College to continue offering law enforcement training.
Instead of pursuing another referendum for a public safety training center, Albrecht plans to explore partnerships, particularly with other government entities such as municipalities, he said Monday at a Gateway Technical College Board retreat at the SC Johnson iMET Center in Sturtevant, 2320 Renaissance Blvd.
In April residents across three counties, including Racine, voted down a $49 million funding request from Gateway for a package of construction projects that included a $15.6 million public safety training center.
The proposal included plans for a new 24-lane shooting range and an on-site driving course complete with simulated intersections, street lights and highway ramps.
The college has a five-lane shooting range in Kenosha, but it is in poor condition, Albrecht said. Also Gateway offers driving training at a rented parking lot at the former Dairyland Greyhound Track in Kenosha, but the future of the track is in limbo and Gateway officials do not know how long that option will be available.
If nothing is done, Gateway could lose its state accreditation to teach law enforcement classes, Albrecht said.
To continue offering law enforcement training, Albrecht presented the board with three options: renovating Kenosha’s campus for an estimated $6 million, another smaller referendum, or pursuing partnerships.
His recommendation, which the board agreed with, was to pursue partnerships with other local governments.
Albrecht understands other government entities’ spending is limited by state law, but he said some municipalities own land and former industrial buildings that Gateway could renovate and lease.
A “public-public partnership” is the ideal option Albrecht said because the Wisconsin Technical College System Board has not always approved public-private partnerships where the private sector partner generates income from the college, rather than donating funds.
Gateway is limited in how much it can spend to physically expand its campus by state law, but Albrecht said the college does not have similar state-imposed limits on improvements to leased properties.
Ideally Albrecht said he is looking to lease a property with a building of at least 40,000 square feet and 10 acres of land, where a driving track could be built.
He plans to report back to the Gateway board in October with an update on any possible partnerships.
Albrecht has looked at properties in Kenosha, Burlington and Racine, but he said he is having difficulty finding the optimal piece of property.
Scott Pierce, one of the members of Gateway’s board, said he supports the college’s law enforcement training. But if Gateway cannot get public support for a public safety training center, Pierce said the college should take a serious look at the program and decide if the college should continue offering law enforcement training.
“I know this is harsh,” Pierce said during the meeting. “But sometimes you have to cut your losses.”
Also Neville Simpson, another board member, questioned the value of spending a large amount of money on something that only benefits a small number of people.
But Albrecht said thousands of people every year come to Gateway for law enforcement training.
In the 2012-13 academic year an estimated 5,000 people took law enforcement training classes at Gateway, said Bill Whyte, Gateway’s vice president of human resources and facilities.
If the college was able to expand its facilities, Gateway projects enrollment in the college’s law enforcement training classes would jump 30 percent, according to Whyte.
Albrecht said Monday he does not plan on asking for another referendum for a public safety training center, but he said he does not want Gateway to eliminate its law enforcement training.
“I don’t consider that an option,” Albrecht said of eliminating the training. “It’s too important for the community.”
July 8, 2013
From sheboyganpress.com: “LTC schedules active shooter seminar” – Incidents of school or workplace violence can happen at random, but there are ways the public can be better prepared for the worst.
Lakeshore Technical College is offering a seminar from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. July 25 intended to help the public respond effectively. The seminar will be held on the Cleveland campus in the Public Safety building.
The seminar will address school and workplace violence, with a major emphasis on the active shooter. Participants will learn how to respond to threats, what to expect from law enforcement’s response, what to teach their children about the immediate actions to take when confronted by an active shooter and what plans businesses and citizens should have in place.
The seminar is designed for everyone, especially parents and those in the business and school community.
The instructor, Jason Wilterdink, has 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. In addition, he is currently a full-time instructor at LTC, a master instructor in use of force, certified by several organizations as a firearms instructor and has served as an instructor and expert witness in self-defense, training, safety, security, health, wellness and fitness.
Wilterdink also served in an international police mission for the United Nations where he served in Liberia-West Africa as the team leader for the crowd control team and lead instructor for physical security, operational security and civil unrest in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1509.
The cost of the seminar is $89. To register by phone with credit card, call 888-468-6582, ext. 1366.
July 3, 2013
From livinglakecounty.com: “WCTC graduates first class of TSA students” – A group of 17 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers became the first-ever class in the Milwaukee Metro area to earn certificates of achievement in homeland security issued by the TSA Office of Training and Workforce Engagement.
The employees completed coursework through Waukesha County Technical College and were recognized at a June 25 ceremony at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.
“It has been our privilege to provide homeland security-related instruction to the dedicated TSA employees at General Mitchell International Airport,” said Brian Dorow, WCTC associate dean of criminal justice. “They have a significant responsibility each day to ensure the traveling public is safe, and I am confident that our courses will increase their knowledge base.”
The courses were taught by WCTC law-enforcement instructor Mark Stigler at the TSA field office in Milwaukee. Upon successful completion of the program’s three classes, officers also receive a jump start to pursue an associate’s degree from WCTC while improving their career advancement opportunities at TSA.
“The sharing of experience and knowledge among our fellow classmates established a connection that will increase our contribution to achieving the Department of Homeland Security’s goal of ‘one team, one mission, securing our homeland,’ said Transportation Safety Officer (TSO) Paulette Young.
This local group joins the more than 3,800 students nationally who have participated in the TSA associates program. It is designed to give the TSA workforce the opportunity to earn a certificate while also earning college credit. WCTC and General Mitchell International Airport are among the 88 colleges and 98 airports partnering nationwide in the delivery of the program, which is now offered in all 50 states.
From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College to offer violence seminar” – CLEVELAND — Incidents of school or workplace violence can happen at random, but there are ways the public can prepare. Lakeshore Technical College will offer a seminar on July 25 intended to help the public respond effectively. It will be held from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Public Safety building on the Cleveland campus, 1290 North Ave.
The seminar will address school and workplace violence, with a major emphasis on the active shooter. It’s designed for everyone, especially parents and those in the business and school community. Participants will learn how to respond to threats, what to expect from law enforcement’s response, what to teach their children about the immediate actions to take when confronted by an active shooter, and what plans businesses and citizens should have in place in case an incident occurs.
The instructor, Jason Wilterdink, has 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. He currently is a full-time instructor at LTC, a master instructor in use of force, and certified by several organizations as a firearms instructor. He has served as an instructor and expert witness in self-defense, training, safety, security, health, wellness and fitness.
Wilterdink also participated in an international police mission for the United Nations where he served in Liberia, West Africa, as the team leader for the crowd control team and lead instructor for physical security, operational security, and civil unrest in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolution 1509.
The cost of the seminar is $89, and the class number is 41906. To register by phone with a credit card, call (888) 468-6582, ext. 1366. For more information, visithttp://www.gotoltc.edu/seminars/activeShooters.php or contact Ruth at (920) 693-1167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
From wxow.com: “Local law enforcement undergo tactical emergency medical training” – LA CROSSE – Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs responded to a mass casualty shooting drill at Western Technical College, Sunday.
It was part of a 40-hour tactical emergency medical support course led by Waukesha County Technical College instructors.
Sunday’s drills included a mass casualty shooting and a downed officer.
“In a mass casualty situation there’s a triage situation that has to happen,” said Jim Hillcoat a La Crosse firefighter and paramedic. He’s taking part in the class.
“There was a danger in the scenario we just did that wasn’t mitigated yet – or we weren’t sure it was mitigated. So, that needed to be dealt with and you have people who need help medically that have traumatic injuries,” Hillcoat said.
The course teaches first responders how to utilize military and emergency medicine under the threat of gunfire, for example, the shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and the Azana Spa in Brookfield, Wis.
Tactical EMS Instructor Chad Stiles responded to the Azana Spa shooting.
“You never think it’s gonna happen in our community but when it does, we need to really be prepared to give the best response,” Stiles said.
That’s why he’s training law enforcement and EMS to work together in dangerous situations.
“Usually they operate side-by-side, but they’re working independently of each other,” Stiles said. “This class kind of brings them together like a marriage, almost, and teaches them each others objectives.”
The Tactical EMS class is funded by the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance and Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Preparedness.
Upon completing the course, EMS responders can submit their training record to the state and get a tactical EMS endorsement with their license, Stiles said.
May 15, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Dreams come true for local CVTC grads” – Eau Claire — Friday night was a dream come true for Lori Hruza of Chippewa Falls and Devyne Gass of Cornell. Their paths were longer and a bit more winding than many of their fellow Chippewa Valley Technical College graduates, but they all came to the same place together: walking across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Hruza, 42, and Gass, 45, received associate degrees in nursing. They are now well prepared to pass their exams and become registered nurses, opening up greater career opportunities than they have experienced before in their lives.
“Dreams do come true,” said Hruza. “I always wanted to do nursing, and after my third child I decided to go back to school.“
Hruza has been many places in her adult life, as her husband pursued a military career. She worked in child care and taught preschool, at one point in Hawaii. But she always dreamt of becoming a nurse.
“It’s interesting learning about the human body, and I always enjoyed helping people,” she said. It became easier to pursue her dream after her children were older, and she chose CVTC’s nursing program.
Now, ready to enter the nursing profession and after seven years living in Chippewa Falls, she’s excited about a new adventure. “We’re moving to Hawaii!” she said.
Gass has already been working as a licensed practical nurse at a nursing home in Ladysmith. She attended Northcentral Technical College in Wausau some years ago for that training. She’s been wanting to advance her career.
“I wanted to get into a school that’s closer,” she said. “But it took a while to get back into the program.“
Now she’s on the verge of being an RN. It won’t mean an immediate change of scenery for her, but Gass knows it will open up many more employment possibilities.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
That feeling was shared by hundreds of people at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena, which hosts the CVTC graduation each fall and spring.
CVTC honored 626 graduates in 47 different programs Friday night, with 375 graduates receiving associate degrees and 251 receiving technical diplomas. On Thursday night, CVTC honored 67 graduates at its River Falls campus, including 60 receiving associate degrees and seven receiving technical diplomas.
The most popular programs among this spring’s graduates were nursing, with 60 graduates, criminal justice/law enforcement with 54 graduates, and business management with 53.
Among the graduates was Randi Johnson of Eau Claire, in the dental hygienist program, who was chosen as the student speaker. She urged the graduates to get out of their comfort zones.
“Being willing to step out of our comfort zones led us here,” she said. “Now that we’ve gotten to this point in life, we should push ourselves to keep improving. We will feel uncomfortable in the future, whether it’s in an interview for our dream job or buying our first house. But the moments where we feel unsure usually turn out to be the ones that change our lives and help define who we are.“
Featured speaker Paul Gabriel, executive director of the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, put a new twist on the notion of wishing graduates “good luck.“
“For years, I’ve heard graduates refer to themselves as ’lucky’ to have made it here,” he said. “But, what’s luck really got to do with it? … If you feel fortunate to be here, it’s not luck at all. It’s the success that you have created for yourself.“
From fox11online.com: “Preparation key in search for missing” – FOND DU LAC – Investigators say having a plan in place to deal with an abduction before it happens is key.
“If something is going to happen, it’s going to happen in the first 24 hours and the quicker we can get on it, the quicker we can get the information out to the general public, the better chance we have of resolving it,” said Lt. Cameron McGee with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Dept.
McGee says having that plan in place helps allocate resources to the search effort quickly and effectively.
“These things have a tendency to explode very quickly and if we have a plan in place up front, it’s easier to manage, easier to do that because these things they get very big, very fast.”
It’s the kind of training Fox Valley Technical College’s Criminal Justice Training Center provides. Center director Brad Russ trains law enforcement officers on search techniques in missing persons cases.
“Time is of the essence. When we do our training, we talk about the need to mobilize everyone immediately,” said Russ.
McGee say technology helps spread the word of possible abductions quicker than ever before.
“We have Amber Alerts now, we have the resources of the National Center for the Missing and Exploited, other agencies out there today that we didn’t have back then, 10, 20 years ago.”
And Lt. McGee has a warning for those who would even think about harming children…don’t do it in Fond du Lac County.
“If that means calling in state resources or federal resources or whatever it takes, at least around here these cases are dealt with in the absolute highest priority. We have to tolerate a lot of things around here, but when it comes to messing with our children, we don’t have any tolerance for that whatsoever.”
Each February, Fox Valley Tech hosts a national missing persons conference.
The FBI’s most recent report indicates 87,000 active missing persons cases; more than one third of them are children.
April 25, 2013
From waow.com: “NTC ribbon cutting for Merrill Public Safety Campus” – A ribbon cutting took place in Merrill for the new Public Safety Campus. The project provides real-life experience for first responders.
It includes a village with storefronts and streets.
In a command center, there are monitors that keep track of remote control targets and play recorded sound effects, like a person screaming or a dog barking. NTC leaders say it aimed at making the training as realistic as possible.
Two years ago, the original campus was destroyed by a tornado that hit Merrill. At the time, North Central Technical College was in the process of revamping the campus. The tornado gave school leaders an opportunity to make the campus much larger.
The two million dollar project is the result of insurance payments on the original facility, as well as community donations and money from the NTC Foundation.
For more info check out www.ntc.edu
April 23, 2013
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Thousands set to use NTC’s new Merrill campus” – Two years after a tornado flattened Northcentral Technical College’s emergency services campus, it is reopening as a state-of-the-art facility that will train thousands of central Wisconsin emergency workers every year.
Associate Dean of Public Safety Bryce Kolpack said that more than 1,000 emergency workers already will have used the campus between March 1 and May 1, and he expects that number to continue growing as the center celebrates its official re-opening Wednesday.
“We’re hoping to be able to provide training for all of northern Wisconsin, including the 10 counties that are part of NTC’s district,” he said. Those counties include all or parts of Clark, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Portage, Price, Shawano, Taylor and Waupaca counties.
Those public safety workers will get their training at a $2 million Public Safety Center of Excellence that comprises three main components: a 300-foot by 500-foot paved area for emergency operations training; a half-mile stretch of roadway that will have various surfaces and turns for emergency vehicle training; and an emergency village, which will contain four buildings.
The old facility, destroyed when a tornado whipped through the Merrill area in April 2011, had only a classroom building and a separate facility in which firefighters learned to fight fires. NTC already had been planning an expansion of the facility, and the tornado provided the perfect opportunity to start construction, Public Relations coordinator Jennifer Johnson said.
The school’s insurance carrier covered $1.8 million of the construction. Donations from 11 local businesses totaling $110,000 helped keep costs down, Johnson said. Each of those businesses will have its name on a storefront in the emergency village. The NTC Foundation also contributed $35,000.
Training activities in the emergency village and on the vehicle-training track can be monitored from the command tactical operations center, which is outfitted with technology that controls training targets and digital recording throughout the village and track. This training environment allows full-darkness, night-time activities that simulate the conditions most police officers confront on late-shift assignments.
Several local units already have used the campus, including local police and sheriff’s departments and the state Crime Lab, which offered a class last week on collecting evidence at crime scenes. Representatives from at least 15 central and northern Wisconsin law enforcement departments attended the class, including police and sheriff’s departments from a large swath of the state, from Portage County north to Forest County.
Marathon County Sheriff’s Deputy Randy Hansen, who took part in that class, said the new facility offers better options for required in-service training than the facilities NTC had to use in the past.
“It keeps you sharp and keeps your skills honed,” he said.
Hansen, who has been with the Sheriff’s Department for five years, said deputies used to practice pursuit training at one of the parking lots at NTC’s Wausau campus, but the lot’s size and light poles meant they couldn’t practice at high speeds. The expansion allows trainees to “open up the throttle a bit,” he said.
But the facility will be open to more than just public safety personnel. Kolpack said the college also plans to offer training for new owners of recreational vehicles and skid training for new drivers who haven’t experienced winter driving.
The center also will feature mock campgrounds and deer stands for rural police training, as well as a search and rescue building. The college already is planning for additional training features on site, including a collapsed building prop, rail car props and an indoor shooting range.
From fox6now.com: “WCTC’s Criminal Justice Dean Brian Dorow on Boston bombings” – Brian Dorow is the Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College.
Dorow appeared on FOX6 News following the explosions at the Boston Marathon to talk about law enforcement’s response to a mass tragedy.
April 8, 2013
From wausaudailyherald.com: “NTC opens revamped public safety training center” – Northcentral Technical College is expanding its presence in Merrill after a devastating tornado hit the campus in April 2011. The revitalized Public Safety Center of Excellence offers advanced training in a technically integrated and realistic environment. The 36-acre site is located on the edge of the city of Merrill, an area rich with a natural environment suitable for multiple uses including water rescue and wilderness training.
“After the tornado, we evaluated current and future public safety training needs to ensure our Center of Excellence provides the highest level of hands-on tactical training for public safety professionals,” said Lori Weyers, president of Northcentral Technical College. “Because of the unique and varying training we will be able to offer, we expect several thousand public safety personnel a year to gain practical, hands-on experience right here in Merrill.”
The NTC Public Safety Center of Excellence provides state-of-the-art training for public safety personnel and positions NTC as a leader in the Midwest for emergency management training. The fire training area features a utility training area with five unique props, leak detection field, burn tower, splash tower and extrication pad, as well as confined space and flashover simulation trailers. The Emergency Village replicates local business storefronts on a simulated multi-block street to provide real-life training scenarios for emergency responders. Adjacent to the Emergency Village is an Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, or EVOC, featuring traffic signal lights and light poles mounted with cameras. Training activities in the Emergency Village and on the EVOC track can be monitored from the Command Tactical Operations Center, which is outfitted with technology that controls training targets and digital recording throughout the village and track. This training environment allows full-darkness, night-time activities that simulate the conditions most police officers confront on late-shift assignments.
“This facility will allow learners to bridge the gap between classroom discussion and actual emergency management situations by simulating critical events without the inherent risks of actual hazardous materials and exposure to severe weather conditions,” said Bryce Kolpack, NTC Dean of Public Safety.
The center also will feature mock campgrounds and deer stands for rural police training, as well as a search and rescue building. The college already is planning for additional training features on site, including a collapsed building prop, rail car props and an indoor shooting range.
Training is already under way at the revitalized Public Safety Center of Excellence, with a ribbon-cutting celebration slated for April 24. The community is invited to tour the facility at an open house after the ribbon-cutting from noon to 2 p.m.
For more information on the Public Safety Center of Excellence, visit www.ntc.edu or call 715-675-3331.